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Flashback to 1995: Catching up with Suzanne Neville

Thu, 14 February 2013

In 1995 Suzanne Neville was in the Shell LiveWIRE UK Finals with her Bridal and Evening Wear design label, Suzanne Neville Couture.
Now a leading figure in British Design, Suzanne talks to us about her entrepreneurial journey. 

What can you remember about your involvement with Shell LiveWIRE?
At that time I was straight out of college (London College of Fashion) and had just recently started the business. I was so thrilled to receive the award as it gave me the inspiration to carry on working hard, as well as providing help and support to drive the business forward. Shell LiveWIRE helped secure the future of my business which is now internationally successful.
Suzanne Neville Scan
Suzanne Neville in the Harrow Borough Recorder, 20th April 1995

How have things changed for you since you won your Shell LiveWIRE award?
I am very fortunate to have a successful and ever growing business, back then I had one member of staff, I now oversee a team of 30 in our production studio in Harrow on The Hill, and there are over 50 members of staff in the whole company. We have three of our own shops in Knightsbridge, Cheshire and Guilford and over 55 Stockists around the UK and overseas. We create made to measure wedding dresses and evening dresses for red carpet events, Television and other high profile events.

How have you had to adapt as an entrepreneur over the years?
It was so important that I could allow myself to be creative by relying on others to take the responsibility of the financial and wholesale side of the business. About 12 years ago I joined forces with my business partners Tony and Jane Hampton, and together we have driven the company forward, each covering different areas of expertise.
Suzanne Neville
Suzanne Neville celebrating her regional win with David Beer, General Manager, Trading Supply and Distribution

What has been the biggest obstacle you have overcome in business?
My biggest obstacle has always been that I find it hard to let go, it’s so important when you own your own business that you learn to trust others to cover aspects of the business you don't have time to do. Getting the right people for the right roles means you can concentrate on bigger and more important issues.

What are your top 3 tips for a young entrepreneur about to set up in business?
1. Stick at it, work hard and believe in yourself!
2. Expect to work long hours for no money, for the first few years it’s just about breaking even. It will take time to grow the business before you can expect a healthy profit, but work hard and you'll be rewarded.
3. Don't expect fast results.

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